Me? Hire a Professional Organizer? But I’m an administrative professional. I’m organized. I can find everything I need when I need it…most of the time. Or can you? Perhaps your desk and workspace is spotless, but you may be struggling with how to get things done more efficiently or how to be more effective managing projects assigned to you. Or maybe you’re someone who knows you do need some assistance with organizing your work space to be more efficient, but you don’t know how to do it or it seems so overwhelming. You NEED a professional organizer!
If your office is stacked with piles and files, there is a perception associated with it that you aren’t organized (even if you claim you can find anything you need in that stack). If you never empty your inbox, how do I know you’re going to get the document I left there for you? If your e-mail inbox is so full you overlook my messages and aren’t able to respond in a timely manner, my confidence in you may be damaged. You cannot afford to be in this position as an administrative professional. Sometimes we need to call in an expert to help us overcome a roadblock facing us.
I remember the first time I told someone I had hired a professional organizer to help me with my home office. They were in shock. “But you’re one of the most organized people I know,” they exclaimed. “Why do Y-O-U need a professional organizer?” What you’re able to do or need to do for others and what you’re willing to do or still have time to do for yourself can sometimes be two very different things.
As an administrative professional who is very organized and has worked with a lot of managers and executives who needed me to be organized for them as well, let me share how working with a professional organizer can help you become a better administrative professional, improve your productivity and efficiency, and continue to make you look like a star in and out of the office.
- A Professional Organizer is much more than an organizer. The truly qualified and talented professional organizers are efficiency experts in every sense. They help you layout your work space and office properly. They help you implement systems for processing daily work and project requests more efficiently. Many can coach you in better utilization of technology for organizing your time, projects, and e-mail. No matter how organized you are, you can always improve your efficiency. Having an objective perspective from an outsider looking in will help you identify ways to improve how you work. Keep an open mind and be willing to change how you work.
- Working with a professional organizer is NOT just about creating files and removing piles from your space. It’s about creating systems and processes that fit how you work best so you can maintain it for maximum productivity moving forward. It’s about creating homes for things so you can put them away when you’re finished using them and you know where to go get them the next time you need them. Then you can help those you support do the same. The principles are applicable at work and at home.
- Working with a Professional Organizer speeds up the organization process. When you have a person sitting next to you asking you key questions to help you make a decision about where to file something or if you need to keep the item at all, you make decisions more quickly and can move through higher volumes of stuff than if you sit there looking at it by yourself. Plus, clutter can be overwhelming and downright depressing! So having someone to encourage you as you plow through the piles and helping you get past the emotional and mental issues associated with the clutter is vital.
- Working with a professional organizer helps you identify your trouble spots so you can avoid them in the future. Whether you think you have them or not – you do! Another set of objective eyes and ears working with you in your work space is extremely valuable. I’m a saver. I like to read things on paper versus on the computer. So I maintain a lot of information in my home office for reference purposes that catches up with me if I don’t stay on top of it. Working with my professional organizer helped me identify some of my bad habits and strategies for overcoming them. This was huge for me.
- A Professional Organizer can provide you with tactics and strategies for working more effectively with chronically disorganized or ADHD co-workers also. You may joke about this with your team members, but these are legitimate issues facing some people and it impacts how they work and how you work successfully with them. Look for a professional organizer who is certified by the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization or the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals in these areas.
How do you gain your boss’s support for hiring a professional organizer?
- Refer to the professional organizer as a productivity or efficiency expert instead of a professional organizer.
- Document all of the areas or situations where you feel you could be more productive but need additional support in getting past road blocks you may be facing.
- Do your research and give them facts and figures on the amount of time saved, money saved, and productivity increases that an organized and efficient workplace will provide when it comes to the company’s bottom line. Your professional organizer can provide some of these stats for you or the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) website is a great resource also.
- Be willing to pay for the first session or two yourself. Then document the improvements and the systems that have been implemented so your boss can see the tangible results. This may cause them to support paying for future sessions for you and other members of your team. This may be enough reason for them to even reimburse you for past sessions you’ve already paid for yourself. Either way, the personal investment is worth it!
What to look for in a Professional Organizer
- Look for a Certified Professional Organizer.
- Find one who is a member of NAPO.
- Ask for references or referrals.
- Meet with them for a consultation and/or talk to them by phone before you hire them.
- Do Internet research and see what others recommend.
The strategies and tips you’ll learn from working with your professional organizer will make you a more valuable administrative professional to all of the executives and teams you support. I assisted one of my executive clients with organizing her files and desktop piles recently using strategies my professional organizer taught me. Here is what she said when we were finished: “I just wanted to give you a BIG THANK YOU for all your help in organizing and sorting my office. I absolutely LOVE it and it feels so good to be out of the chaos – it really is incredibly calming for me.” Her co-workers thanked me, too. It had that big of an impact on the entire team. Prepare to feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally when you clean up your space.
When we’re all being asked to “do more with less”, a professional organizer can help you squeeze more time from your day, increase space and improve productivity in your office, and give you strategies you will be able to apply everywhere. Plus, you’ll look like the office super star once again!
What are some of your organizing challenges or strategies? Share your ideas by commenting here on our blog.
© 2010 All Things Admin and Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.